ESCALON — Ripon will take wins any way it can get them at this point in the season.
On Thursday, the Indians survived a sloppy finish that included head-scratching turnovers and a 0-for-7 effort from the free-throw line to edge out traditional rival Escalon, 70-68.
“We were doing a lot of things to hurt ourselves,” Ripon coach Justin Graham said.
Troy Brogan hit a late 3 to put Ripon (8-2, 14-12 overall) ahead for good. The Indians are a half game ahead of Ripon Christian at the top of the Trans-Valley League standings and have another tough road game tonight against Hughson.
Malik Taylor and Bronson Burrow led the team with 17 points apiece. Taylor also made three 3s. Nico Ilardi added 12 points and five rebounds, while Brogan finished with 10 points and six boards. Danny Hernandez contributed eight assists and five rebounds.
Escalon (4-5, 14-11), fighting for a postseason berth, was the aggressor to start and took a 20-13 lead to the second quarter.
“We didn’t come out with any energy,” Graham said. “We’re thankful for the win, but we have to be ready to go to battle with Hughson (tonight). We’re playing a team that is playing very well lately.”
Ripon Christian 85, Livingston 62
The host Knights (7-2, 18-6) go into their challenging closing stretch of the regular season riding a four-game winning streak.
They had their way against Livingston (1-8, 8-17), jumping out to a 20-8 lead and stretching it out from there behind a balanced scoring effort headed by Will Gilbert’s 16 points. Caleb Terpsma scored 15 points, Jacob Van Groningen had 13 and Braden Van Groningen and Lukas Van Groningen fired 12 apiece.
Cooper Winton paced the Wolves with 19 points.
Ripon 63, Escalon 45
Nolan Young scored 18 of his 26 points in the second half to lead the Indians.
Ryan Lefebvre added 10 points with Anthony Sausedo and Jacob Wallace chipped in eight points apiece.